Intolerant or Correct?
My dad would only own a Chevy. My father-in-law retired from the Ford Motor Company. He would only drive a Ford. A Honda and a Kia are currently in my driveway despite their opinions.
I learned a lot from these men. Both gave me advice, and it was usually correct. Often their opinions were the same, but when it came to what to drive, they were exact opposites. They both had strong opinions on which type of vehicle was better.
Early on, when it came to religion, my dad and I would argue about God and the Bible (that changed in Dad’s later years). My father-in-law was not a religious man and was quiet on the subject. Over time I discovered we needed to be alone to discuss it much.
Whether it be cars, religion, or any other topic, everyone has an opinion. When it comes to vehicles, Dad was Chevy only; dad-in-law – only buy a Ford; me – as long as it runs, it does not matter.
Interestingly, when someone stands firm about what brand of car to drive, they may engage in some harmless banter. Still, it can start wars when someone takes a similar stand on religion. I reckon this is because it does not matter how a person gets from point A to point B, but eternity is at stake when it comes to faith.
Every religion has differences. There are dozens of Christian denominations and even those claiming no denomination. Islam has Sunni and Shia, among others. Hinduism has Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Shaktism, and Smartism.
There are, however, beliefs within Christianity that make it uniquely Christian.
There is only one way to eternal life, and that path is not in something we do, but a person. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
Think of the three claims Jesus is making here – 1) if you want to see God, you can only get to Him through me. 2) I am not just telling you the truth; I am the truth. Anything contradicting me is a lie. 3) You cannot have life without me. Your life on this earth is meaningless without me, and you have no hope of eternal life without me.
That is bold, and many would say it is intolerant. But what if Jesus is right?
The true uniqueness of Christianity is that God does all the work for our salvation. All people need to do is believe it.
Why is Jesus Christ the only way?
Jesus Christ is God – John 1:1-3,14 tells us that Jesus is the Creator. When Genesis chapter one says, “And God said, Let there be…” that was the voice of Jesus Christ. Other verses telling us Jesus is the Creator – John 1:10, Ephesians 3:9, Colossians 1:16-17, Hebrews 1:2,10, Revelation 4:10. Being God and therefore the Creator, He also establishes the rules.
Mankind sinned (disobeyed God – Genesis 3:1-24). Because of this, sin, pain, misery, death are the ways of life. This miserable situation is true for everyone ever born. Even nature is in pain because of humanity’s sin (Romans 8:21-22).
Since God established the rules, He gave us the law. The law cannot save us; it only tells us when we have done wrong and when we have done well. Herein lies a problem – all of us have broken God’s law. Every honest person has told a lie at one time or another. Remember when you were six years old and told your parents you cleaned your room or that you did not eat that cookie?
Please do not compare yourself to others whether they are better or worse than you. What others have done does not matter in your case. If you stand before a judge because of a speeding ticket, he will not let you off because the next case before him is murder. We are all guilty. We needed our sins erased; we need forgiveness.
Also, within the law – Sin can only be cleansed by blood (Hebrews 9:22). Before we go looking for a virgin to toss into the volcano, we must realize the virgin heading to the volcano is also a sinner, just like the rest of us. Her sacrifice will not save us.
The necessary sacrifice must be non-sin-tainted blood – step in the Son of God – Jesus Christ.
Jesus, without an earthly father, is the God-man. 100% human and 100% God, yet without sin. That is why the Scripture calls Him “The Lamb of God.” He is the blood sacrifice that takes away the sin of the world.
We have all broken the law. Therefore, we are all guilty. According to the law, only blood can wash away sins. Jesus, having the only sinless blood ever to exist, offered Himself as the only acceptable sacrifice. These truths are why Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father. In fact, only He can be the way.
The sacrifice is complete. Now God turns to us and informs us that Christ has paid the price for salvation and that salvation can be yours if you trust in what He did for your salvation. Do not put your faith in religious rituals like baptism. Do not trust that the good outweighing the bad in your life will be good enough. We are all guilty; the sin debt must be paid. Jesus did that on the cross, put your faith into His works, not yours.
Is Christianity intolerant, or correct? How you answer that question will determine eternity.
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With houses of worship still under restrictions across much of the nation, the editors of the Baltimore Post-Examiner are inviting an array of spiritual teachers to share insights from the ages along with words of comfort and encouragement. These timely messages are not exclusive to any particular faith walk and will be included in our ongoing Spirituality series.
Preacher Tim Johnson is Pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Indiana. His weekly column “Preacher’s Point” may be found at: www.preacherspoint.wordpress.com